According to The Telegraph, half of students who started their degree in 2017 were the first in their family to go to university.
This was the first time that the number of first generation students matched those students whose parents went to university. Despite this seismic shift in the type of students accessing higher education there is still a lack of positive role models who are from similar backgrounds - partly because first generation higher education graduates typically don’t share their stories.
The campaign #IAmFirstGen aims to bring together companies, organisations, and individuals across the South West to form a community of students and graduates that are the first in their family to study at degree level. #IAmFirstGen will highlight the diversity of educational journeys and career pathways that people in various sectors have followed.
#IAmFirstGen aims to give young people from first generation backgrounds strong and relatable role models and access to networks and practical support. The #IAmFirstGen campaign wants to forge connections between education and skills providers to create a pool of ‘first in family’ ambassadors who can support the progression of young people who possess skills and talent, but who do not have the networks or connections in their chosen sector.
By telling personal stories, the transformative power of higher education experiences can be shared with young people from first generation backgrounds to help build their expectations and create their own narrative for the future.
We know that businesses are increasingly recognising the value of diversity and want to support the social mobility agenda. The campaign provides scope for a scaffolded approach to supporting individuals at various stages of their education or careers, be it school pupils, freshers, undergraduates, graduates, alumni, and employees at the start, middle or height of their career.
Supporting #IAmFirstGen will enable employers to further social mobility and celebrate first generation employees in their company.